The chance that I will be injured by Al Quaeda in any way is quite remote. The chance of being attacked by ASIO is a lot greater.
The main benefit of being in a democracy is having a legal system where the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty and where they have the right to legal representation. The war in Iraq has not brought the US or Australian system of government to Iraq, instead it is bringing Saddam Hussein’s system of government to Australia and the US.
Traditionally under the Australian and US legal systems innocent people are not punished, unlike under Saddam Hussein. Now ASIO has the authority to detain innocent civilians indefinitely if they believe that it helps them in some way – and there is no method of policing ASIO to ensure that even such excuses are met.
Traditionally under the Australian and US legal systems everyone who is accused of a crime is entitled to a trial, unlike under Saddam Hussein. Now ASIO and the CIA have been given the authority to punish anyone without a trial. ASIO can also extend the punishment to anyone who might receive evidence of such actions and publish it (I guess that the CIA can do the same).
Saddam lost the battle but his legacy is winning the war.
For the best definition of Terrorism see Noam Chomsky’s paper. The actions taken by the Australian government against the people of Iraq, foreign citizens in Australia, and almost certainly Australian citizens (it’s not credible to believe that ASIO has such powers and doesn’t use them occasionally on Australians) fits the definition of Terrorism.
Elections are coming soon, both in the US and in Australia. Whatever you do, don’t vote for Neo-Cons (Republicans in the US or Liberals in Australia).
PS Before anyone suggests that I should worry about ASIO kidnapping me in retaliation for this, I’m sure that they know of the Streisand Effect. I’ll try and avoid any unplanned down-time for my blog after this post goes out to avoid false-alarms… ;)
Update: I incorrectly wrote “guilty until proven innocent” above, that is the current Australian government policy not the way it should be.